Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Ask me...

The first meeting of the new 'Finance and Resources Portfolio Advisory Committee' takes place next Thursday 13th June in Truro.

On the agenda for every PAC meeting as a 15 minute slot for the public to ask questions relevant to the portfolio.

The PACs are a new invention designed to engage more councillors in the work of each cabinet member. There was a feeling under the old system that cabinet members had become too detached from backbenchers and that decisions were being taken without regard to the views of all 123 councillors.

By retaining the cabinet system, the council chose to continue to give the major decision-making power to the ten cabinet members. But the PACs mean that decisions have to be better consulted on before they are finalised. We are re-structuring the forward plan so that we take issues to the PACs before they go to cabinet (except in the most urgent and exceptional cases). The issues can be debated and fully understood by all councillors at this stage. Whilst there are 10 members of each PAC (and a PAC for each cabinet member), every councillor is able to attend every meeting and make contributions.

Of course, the cabinet member is not bound by the views of PAC members, but it seems incumbent on us to listen very carefully and be able to come up with a very good reason why we don't agree if that is the case.

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